This is Tim’s Article that appeared in the Evening Leader on May 4, 2020
I graduated from High School in May of 1993. My graduation part was on a sunny Saturday afternoon in early June. My whole church came over along with many of my friends. My football coaches stopped over. My parent’s friends and extended family were there. It is probably one of the biggest events we ever held at my parent’s house. We served cake and sloppy joes. We even took my Super Nintendo and hooked it up to an old RCA TV out in the garage and we all played each other in Street Fighter II. To everyone in my generation, the best Street Fighter character was Guile.
My Dad set up a volley ball court in our front yard. The court was set near the flagpole. That detail will become relevant in a moment. As the game continued on, my Aunt Donna was chasing a ball out of bounds and she inadvertently bumped into the flagpole. In slow motion, the flagpole slowly started to lean. Everyone watched in disbelief as the pole continued to lean further and further. Aunt Donna grabbed the pole to try to hold it up and it completely broke off and crashed to the ground.
It may have been the funniest thing I have ever witnessed in real life.
To make matters worse, my friend, Scotty, started a rumor around town that a cow got out and knocked over the Benjamin’s flagpole. To this day, I don’t know if she has forgiven Scotty and there is still a legend of the cow that destroyed the flagpole. It is a story that is still freely told in my hometown to this day. It is a memory that no one that witnessed it will ever forget.
This is one of many stories from the end of my senior year that I could have told. All of you have these stories and memories of the end of your senior year. That is what makes my heart break for seniors graduating this year. They won’t ever know their senior prom, coming to class just to take exams and leaving, and celebrating with their friends a time they have literally worked for their entire lives. They are getting fitting for cap and gowns for a ceremony that is forbidden by order of Governor DeWine.
I am not criticizing the shut down, but I am giving a shout out to all of the seniors who will not have the opportunity I had to enjoy the final weeks of their Senior Year. They had no senior skip day (is that still a thing?), having those conversations with friends that meant so much to them that they will never be able to have in the same way again, and to join together in excitement over what the future holds for them. Something has been taken from them that they will never have the chance to get back. I still vividly remember those times and many of the people I made those memories with I literally haven’t seen since. Their last day of school will be a random day in April. My heart breaks for them.
I don’t know what the graduation season will look like, but considering where we are now, we are all going to be cake deprived this summer. I know, just when you thought this couldn’t get worse. What I want to encourage all of you to do is to remember our graduates this season with gifts. Those gifts that are usually presented at a party go a long way to helping those seniors transition from high school into whatever is next for them. They have missed out on so much, the least we who love these kids can do is make sure they aren’t deprived of the gifts we would have given them if things were normal.
To all of you seniors out there, if you are willing to take a word of advice from some old guy, make sure you make an effort to have something other than COVID-19 be the only memory you have of this special time of your life. Pay attention to what opportunities you have because so much has been taken from you, don’t miss a chance to make a memory because you deserve better than what the world is giving you right now.
Let’s join together as a community and pray for our graduates because we are proud of them. They will be the leaders we look to in the next few years to make the world a better place as we continue to rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown.